Best Inexpensive Folding Bikes – (2020) Buyer’s Guide

Anthony
| Last Updated: February 23, 2021

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Bikes are great for health and the environment but can be difficult to transport and store. Folding bikes have been crucial in helping make this type of transportation more compact and accessible to people.

Maybe you’ve considered getting one but balked at the high price. While these bikes can be pricey, there are more affordable options available, especially for first-time folding bike owners. 

Here, we’ve listed some of the best, most affordable options to help you in your search.

Our Top Picks for Best Inexpensive Folding Bikes

  • Step-through frame
  • Smooth gear shifts
  • Has heavy duty bag
View Latest Price →
  • Comes pre-assembled
  • Height is adjustable
  • Has a 15.5 mile range
View Latest Price →
  • Lightweight, strong
  • Bike weighs 27 lbs
  • 7-speed gears
View Latest Price →

Comparison of the Best Budget Folding Bikes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Step-through frame is lightweight and fold for storage
  • Smooth gear shifts thanks to 7-speed twist shifter
  • Includes a detachable heavy duty nylon bag - easy storage
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Comes pre-assembled, so can be used out the box
  • Height is adjustable for custom sizing
  • Has a 15.5 mile range for plenty of fun
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Aluminum alloy build is lightweight and strong
  • Bike weighs 27 lbs, and can be used by people up to 240 lbs
  • 7-speed gears are stainless steel for durability
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Can You Really Find a Quality Folding Bike That’s Affordable? 

Finding a quality folding bike at a reasonable price might be a little challenging. All good-quality bikes come with loads of extra features and functionalities that make them pricier than usual. 

However, finding an affordable folding bike is not entirely impossible. On our list as well, you will find some of the best-quality folding bikes available at a rather affordable rate. There may be a few compromises on the range of features, such as color variety, rust-resistance, and warranty, but given their price range, the quality is up to par.   

When Would an Inexpensive Folding Bike Come in Handy? 

This section will go through some of the best uses and purposes a folding bike can provide you with. You can consider these uses before making the decision to invest in one of these vehicles. 

Traveling

Sometimes you might need to take the metro or the subway to get to a destination where your bike cannot travel to. In such cases, the foldable nature of these bikes comes in handy. You can fold it and carry it up on escalators at metro stations and even carry them inside the train. 

Furthermore, if you are having a road trip to a resort or the countryside, you will not need to buy a separate bike rack and can simply carry the inexpensive foldable bike inside the car. 

For Areas With Limited Parking Facilities  

Some areas do not have parking facilities. Meanwhile, other areas are not safe enough to park your bike and not fear it getting stolen away. Therefore, these foldable bikes will come in use as you can fold them up and take them along with you due to their compact and lightweight nature. 

To Ensure Eco-Friendliness and Cost Savings 

Considering the rage for saving the environment these days, it is very important to remain conscious and make environmentally-friendly choices. If you are an environmentally-conscious person, then foldable bikes are a much better option than using taxis, trains, buses, and so on. These are also inexpensive, so you can save up on your money too.

What Are The Components of a Folding Bike? 

Folding bikes have a very similar structure to traditional bikes. However, there are certain features and components that provide a smoother folding mechanism and make these bikes much lighter, durable, and advanced. Here are some key components of a folding bike listed:

Wheels

When it comes to the wheels of these bikes, they differ a lot from traditional bikes. Ideally, the wheels of folding bikes are made of a strong alloy and have a size of 20 inches. A folding bike’s wheels have several spokes that provide greater reinforcement and stability to the vehicle. 

Seat and Seat Post

The seat of folding bikes is a lot more comfortable than those found on regular road bikes. They have seats with more padded cushioning and a larger surface area, providing greater comfort and ease to the rider as a result. 

Moreover, many models have a long, extendable, and telescopic seat post. This allows for height adjustment that meets the needs of the user. 

Gears

Multiple gears are more commonly found in mountain and road folding bikes. However, due to the reduction in weight and the compact size, common folding models do not feature multiple gears. They come with one gear and are also specially designed to have excellent acceleration. 

Quick Take - Best Budget Folding Bikes

Skip the review - here's a snapshot of the best budget folding bikes:

  1. Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike
  2. SWAGTRON Swagcycle EB5 Series
  3. EuroMini ZiZZO Via 27lb Folding Bike

Review of the Best Budget Folding Bikes

The following reviews are some of the best budget folding bikes. These models are ideal for people looking for comfort, affordability, and convenience in their daily commute.

Read the detailed reviews to find the most suitable model for yourself. 

Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike, 20-inch Wheels, 7-Speed Drivetrain, Rear Carry Rack, Carrying Bag, Multiple Colors

pros

  • Available in three color options
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
  • Comes with a protective nylon carry bag
  • Features a rear rack for carrying your essentials 
  • Equipped with a seven-speed Shimano Revoshift Shifter

cons

  • Might be a little heavier than expected 
  • Lots of issues reported with the brakes

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of the buyers of this product used it for riding uphill and for daily commute. They report satisfactory performance and no issues in riding up on slightly uneven terrains. Other reports tell us that this model is good for heavy and bulky people and suitable for really tall people. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

One limitation that folding bikes have is that they must be carried along everywhere with you. However, with this model, carrying your bike won't be a hassle as it comes with a durable nylon carry bag. As a result, it will be convenient to not only carry the bike but also store it in a small garage. 

Furthermore, we are pretty impressed by the technical features of this model. It is equipped with a seven-speed shifter system by Shimano. It also has a strong and durable aluminum frame that is meant to withstand tough usage. The unit is known for its smooth and secure braking system. 

Bottom Line

Summing it up, the Schwinn bike is an ideal product for people with limited storage space but a need for a convenient vehicle for everyday commuting. This is a value-adding product, considering its excellently advanced specifications and the additional carry bag. 

SWAGTRON Swagcycle EB5 Lightweight & Aluminum Folding Ebike with Pedals, Black, 58cm/Medium

pros

  • Ensures excellent traction
  • Adjustable seat and handlebar
  • Travels at 15.5 miles on one full charge
  • Comes pre-assembled, making it highly convenient for everyone
  • Compact and much smaller than other models, featuring 14-inch wheels

cons

  • Battery is not the most reliable 
  • Smaller tires, so the bike might not be good for all types of terrains

What Recent Buyers Report

People taller than 6’1” used this bike and reported that they were very comfortable during their rides. Reports also tell us that the bike is very easy to fold, so it is pretty good for people who have lots of stops in their everyday commute. Some buyers report that the bike has a good battery life, and it charges pretty quickly as well. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The SWAGTRON Swagcycle EB5 is a hybrid folding bike that can be used on the road for daily commuting and as a mountain bike too. It is equipped with an aluminum frame, along with 14-inch wheels and a spacious padded seat. The most distinctive feature of this model is its adjustable seat and handlebar. So, if you are taller than usual, you will surely find this bike suitable for yourself. 

The model has a capacity of 256 pounds, with the capability to ride for up to 15.5 miles on a fully charged battery. This unit charges in no time more than four to five hours. 

Bottom Line

To conclude, we find this a great product overall. It is more compact and lightweight than other units and is also suitable for carrying on public transport such as subways. 

EuroMini ZiZZO Via 27lb Folding Bike-Lightweight Aluminum Frame Genuine Shimano 7-Speed 20-Inch Folding Bike with Fenders

pros

  • Seven-speed gear shifter
  • Safe and secure V-style brakes
  • Lightweight and multi-terrain bike
  • Impressive weight capacity of 240 lbs
  • Stainless steel gears ensure durability

cons

  • Wheels make slight noises
  • Slippery seat, which can be uncomfortable for some

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers report that the bike is very stable and has strong wheels that do not go flat at all. Some reports state that the folding and unfolding process is exceptionally quick and easy. Many pro-level cyclists also used this product and were satisfied with the performance. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

A range of features packed in this unit makes it worthy of your money. The bike has a high-quality seven-speed gear shifter, with stainless steel construction that requires minimal maintenance. Furthermore, it has an extremely sturdy yet lightweight construction as the frame is made out of aluminum alloy. 

This unit's quick-release folding mechanism is based on a magnet that proves to be very stable and secure compared to other conventional folding mechanisms. This unit's other notable features include double-wall rims, adjustable seat post, aluminum alloy kickstand, and reliable Shimano Tourney seven-speed Derailleur.

Bottom Line

Considering the high-end specs, such as the V-style brakes, Shimano gears, lightweight construction, and wide weight capacity, this is surely the most competitive product on the market. It is a top-notch model with a magnetic folding mechanism. 

Vilano Urbana Single Speed Folding Bike

pros

  • Ideal 20-inch wheels
  • Sleek matte black exterior
  • Features a rear mount for a water bottle holder
  • Aluminum frame and minimal maintenance required
  • Weighs no more than 22 pounds, making it very lightweight

cons

  • Lesser load capacity than other units

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of the buyers used this product for daily commuting on trains and subways. They are hugely satisfied with the bike's lightweight nature and report that it is one of the easiest models to fold. People also like the adjustable seat and handlebar height and were able to get used to it easily. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Other than plenty of advanced specifications and compact design, the bike is also very good looking. Its aluminum frame is painted with a matte finish black color that is suitable for all types of purposes and users. The all-black bike also features average-sized, ideal 20-inch wheels that can withstand terrains such as main roads and some hiking trails too. 

It is extremely lightweight, but that does not compromise the quality of the bike. It is reported to be very sturdy and robust; it can withstand tough usage and is low-maintenance too. If you are a beginner or using a bike for daily commuting for the first time, then this single-speed model is the simplest, most affordable option you will find. 

Bottom Line

Overall, an affordable unit such as this is a very valuable product and comes with impressive features such as the water bottle mount and coaster brakes. It has an adjustable seat and handlebars, with a sturdy aluminum frame and is, therefore, a great bike for urban city commuting. 

Outroad Folding Mountain Bike 6 Spoke 21 Speed 26 inch Wheel Double Disc Brake Full Suspension Anti-Slip MTB, Yellow

pros

  • Only 20% of the bike requires assembly
  • Carbon steel frame ensures robust quality
  • Ideal for people with a height of up to six feet
  • Highly eye-appealing exterior with yellow paint
  • Disc brakes and quick-release mechanism ensure smooth braking mechanism

cons

  • Issues reported with the assembly 
  • Uncomfortable and poor-quality seat

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers of this product were beginners and occasional bikers, and report that the unit was very easy to use, assemble, and maintain. Some pro-level bikers also bought this product and really liked the quality and performance of the gears. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This bike by Outroad is pretty impressive with its easy assembly and advanced mechanisms. It is equipped with smooth and powerful disc brakes that feature a quick-release functionality, ensuring a safe and stable ride. Other features of this bike, such as its bright yellow exterior, are also very impressive. Its exterior will make you stand out from other cyclists and will definitely make your whole experience as a hobbyist better. 

The technical specs of this model are also really good. It has 21-speed gears, huge 26-inch wheels, and a carbon steel construction that is perfect for mountain biking. 

Bottom Line

This model is the ideal pick for those looking for the perfect mountain bike and a combination of an attractive look and exceptional features. It has sturdy brakes, with durable construction material, and is suitable for tall people, too. 

What to Look For When Buying a Budget Folding Bike

Don’t go ahead and buy a bike that does not meet your needs. You should always have a list of features and factors that can be used as a checklist when selecting a folding bike. Here are some things you must consider to make an informed decision. 

Frame Material

Folding bikes are available on the market with great variances in their frame material. The frame upholds the whole mechanism of the bike and therefore ensures good performance and longevity. Make sure to check the material of the frame. Ideally, we recommend bikes made of aluminum alloy of aircraft-grade aluminum. 

Wheel Size and Types

Even though the ideal, most generic wheel size used in folding bikes is 20 inches, the sizes may vary from one product to another. Wheel size and types matter a lot since they allow you to travel on certain terrains and certain distances. You should check the type of wheels, particularly when you plan on using the bike on slopes, rough, and uneven terrains. 

Warranty Information

Any good-quality model will come with a reasonable warranty. It is important to inquire about the warranty before the purchase is made and make sure you know every detail of the warranty so that you don’t mistakenly void it. This will add greater value to your money. Also, check if the warranty covers integral parts of the bike, such as the handlebars and the gear system. 

Weight

Since there will be a lot of traveling and carrying to do with a folding bike, the weight plays an imperative role in your comfort. It does not necessarily impact performance, but your experience will be significantly affected. So, go for a bike that weighs less but has all the essential components and functions.

Types of Folding Mechanisms in Bikes

Folding bikes work differently than most bikes. Even though they might be the same when it comes to riding them, some key aspects, such as how the bike folds or collapses, hugely vary. Here is a list of some common folding mechanisms found in these bikes:

Brompton

Such bikes have three main parts that work together and fold the bike like a box; these include the front wheel, back wheel, and the chain and pedals section in between. Here, the front wheels fold either left or right, while the back wheel collapses into the frame of the bikes, and then the seat is pushed down. 

EuroMini ZiZZO Via 27lb Folding Bike

Montague

While Brompton folds into a box-like, square frame, Montague bikes fold into a somewhat triangular structure. Montague is a brand of bikes, but their unique construction and design make them a distinguished variation of such bikes on the market. Bikes with such a mechanism are heavy and bulky and have quick-release buttons to allow a user-friendly folding mechanism. 

In this mechanism, the front and back wheels are the only ones collapsing. Once the front wheel’s clamp unclamps, a clamp under the seat attached to the wheels unclamps. As a result, the seat and the handlebar remain in position as the wheels collapse together. 

Crosshead 

As the name itself might suggest, this folding mechanism folds the bikes in a zigzag format. Here, the front axle and handlebars unclamp and fold down towards the front wheel. Then, the quick-release mechanism hinges the front wheel backward, bringing it to the bike's center area, and another quick-release button hinges the back wheel into the front side. 

Folding Bike Maintenance Tips

After you spend so much on a folding bike, it is crucial that you provide it with essential maintenance and care that will ensure a longer life. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining a folding bike:

Gentle Cleaning

We recommend cleaning your bike with gentle water pressure as opposed to greater pressure. Manual cleaning is much more efficient, as it does not damage the rust protection coating on your bike’s frame. Using wet towels is also recommended, and bike-friendly polish is also good for that last finish. 

Lubrication

Bike chains, pedals, handlebars, and other such maneuvering metal/steel components need to be lubricated frequently. This allows you to ride the bike more safely. Dust and debris get stuck and build up in the chains, which can be cleaned by dipping the chain into warm water for some time and then using a wire brush to clean them. 

Checking Tires

Since tires bring a great deal of stability to your ride, regularly checking them is crucial. A certain level of air pressure is required in all tires.

For a general idea, you should have an air pressure of about 100 psi in road tires, 70 in hybrid, and 35 in mountain. However, it is better to read the manual that came with the tires to know their specific air pressure range. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Inexpensive Folding Bikes

If you are not sure whether a folding bike is the right choice for you, this section will help you look at some convincing aspects of owning a good-quality bike. 

Advantages 

Here are some advantages of inexpensive folding bikes.

Travel-Friendly

If you are a regular cyclist and have cycling sessions every other morning, then carrying your bike up to the cycling track or trail might be a hassle. Moreover, if you want to travel to nearby shops and run everyday errands on a bike, it can come in handy to have a lightweight and compact model that you can literally carry anywhere. It also does not require much parking space and can also be carried on escalators, lifts, and trains. 

Environment-Friendly

With zero fuel consumption and zero gas emission, these bikes are the safest and wisest options to opt for right now. They are good for the environment and can have significant positive effects on your own health as well. 

Cost-Efficient

If you are a resident of a big and busy city, everyday commuting must be a lot of hassle for you. Not only this, but traveling by car, trains, and subways can be very costly, too. Therefore, owning and using a folding bike for daily commute can save up a lot of your time and money altogether. 

Disadvantages 

Let’s not forget to look at the disadvantages too. 

Can't Access All Areas

Using a folding bike might not be the best option if you wish to travel to various destinations with difficult terrains. The reachability of these vehicles is limited.  

Lots of Carrying Around to do 

Even if you travel to trains and subways on the foldable bike, there will be a lot of carrying to do. Even with the low weight, your hand will always be full, and you will have a huge responsibility to carry around too. 

Conclusion 

Summing up the article, we can all agree that folding bikes are a wise and practical choice in the longer run. They are compact, lightweight, and easily available at affordable prices. However, inexpensive bikes are not always going to be of good quality, so you must do your research thoroughly and only go for high-quality models. 

People Also Ask

This section will be of great help to those who are buying a folding bike and need more information about them. Here, we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about these bikes. 

How Much is a Folding Bike? 

A high-quality folding bike can cost as high as $400 to $600. However, inexpensive models are also available for $250 to $350. 

How to Choose Bike Tires For Folding Bikes

You need to consider a few factors. First, you must measure the tire size that is already there on your bike. Next, determine where or on what terrains you will be using the bike. 

Once you have decided all that, make sure to check key components of the tire, including the carcass, which provides it the much-needed stability. The protection belt is also important when choosing a tire for folding bikes. Finally, you must determine the type of tire you want. You can choose from normal, tubeless, tubular, and folding tires.  

Vilano Urbana Single Speed Folding Bike

Are Folding Bikes as Good as Regular Bikes?

Many bikers prefer folding bikes over regular models due to many reasons, one of which is the ease they offer during the daily commute. Other cyclists prefer folding bikes due to limited space in their homes. 

The mechanism is pretty much the same between the two types of bikes. However, there is a significant difference in the price point, as well as the resale value of the two. Folding models resale at a better price than traditional ones, but also initially cost much more. 

Can I Take a Folding Bike on Public Transportation?

There is no such law that prohibits you from bringing folding bikes on public transport. However, you should keep in mind that carrying it in public transport should not bother other commuters.

Anthony

"I'm Linda's husband. We got married in 2018 and are loving life together. We met in one of my many competitive races and hit it off right away. Our best dates are when we're riding down a trail enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful Colorado weather. I enjoy writing about everything pertaining to bikes. "